Growing up, Cassie Carter and her sisters, Karen and Nichole, were incredibly close—until one fateful event drove them apart. After high school, Cassie ran away from home to marry the wrong man, throwing away a college scholarship and breaking her parents’ hearts. To make matters worse, Cassie had always been their father’s favorite—a sentiment that weighed heavily on her sisters and made Cassie’s actions even harder to bear. Now thirty-one, Cassie is back in Washington, living in Seattle with her daughter and hoping to leave her past behind. After ending a difficult marriage, Cassie is back on her own two feet, the pieces of her life slowly but surely coming together. Despite the strides Cassie’s made, she hasn’t been able to make peace with her sisters. Karen, the oldest, is a busy wife and mother, balancing her career with raising her two children. And Nichole, the youngest, is a stay-at-home mom whose husband indulges her every whim. Then one day, Cassie receives a letter from Karen, offering what Cassie thinks may be a chance to reconcile. And as Cassie opens herself up to new possibilities—making amends with her sisters, finding love once more—she realizes the power of compassion, and the promise of a fresh start.
I recently won an ARC of this from a Goodreads giveway. These kind of books are typically not my thing, but Macomber is one of my mother's favorite authors, so I figured if I won the giveaway, I'd have a ready made Mother's Day gift :-). That being said, I feel it's only fair to read and review any books I get through Goodreads, since that is the idea behind the giveaways. So read it I did. And... yeah... still not for me.
As children, Cassie and her sisters -- Nichole & Karen -- are thick as thieves, but as they grow up, they slowly start growing apart. Things come to a head when teenage Cassie's boyfriend gets her knocked up and convinces her to run away from home, them against the world sort of thing. Fast forward years later, Cassie is in her thirties, trying to rebuild her life with her daughter after finally getting out of an abusive marriage. She hasn't spoken to either of her sisters in years and is now volunteering at a women's shelter in Seattle, WA while also working as a hairstylist. She had applied for a Habitat for Humanity house and is ecstatic to find she's been approved! Cassie is placed under the supervision of handyman widower hottie Steve while working off her sweat equity and as you can imagine, things develop between those two from that point on. Cassie receives a letter from one of her sisters after the death of their mother, forcing Cassie to reconnect with her past and address the rift in the family.
I thought there would be more about the sisters worked into the story but I feel like they could have easily been largely cut out of the plot -- just casually referenced, maybe -- and you'd still end up with pretty much the same story. It was largely about Cassie and Steve's developing relationship and Cassie's relationship with her daughter. I didn't feel like the sisters' stories added much. Would have been nice if they did, since pretty much nothing plotwise seems to happen -- nearly as soon as Steve makes his first appearance, I could guess where this story was going to end up. No surprises whatsoever.
There were also little things that irritated me in the reading. For one thing, Cassie seems to work off / finish her sweat equity pretty dang quick! I mean, unrealistically fast! Having worked for HFH in the past, I know that sweat equity takes time! She's getting a house from the ground up (Steve's character even points out that that kind of house is about 400-500 hours worth of equity due) and she's gonna have her stuff done in just a few weeks? And work a regular 9-5? AND still volunteer at the shelter? AND take care of her daughter?! Nah. But the thing that really drove me batty was the dialogue. This novel read like a Lifetime movie and everyone spoke in what sounded like a mashup of Hallmark card platitudes and after-school special quotes! All the men had movie-perfect responses to everything the women said. Nichole's husband Jake especially had me gagging with his syrup sweet words -- even worse when you read what he was up to at the end!
This one is alright if you want something mindless to pass time with on vacation or on a plane ride or something like that -- the story isn't awful, but I found it largely forgettable. I didn't feel like anything new was brought to this story that you haven't read in a million other fluff reads. Not my thing but hoping it will be right up my mom's alley, because I'd hate for her to be disappointed by a favorite author. Just my opinion -- this one was too formulaic and phoned in for me.